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By Ibankyntiew Mawrie
Amid speculations about the election for the post of president of the Meghalaya Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC), likely to be held soon, state party leaders have asserted that the procedure of electing a new chief is not as simple as the public perceive.
With the tenure of the current MPCC president, Celestine Lyngdoh coming to an end this month, there have been talks of senior party leaders like East Shillong legislator Ampareen Lyngdoh, Nongthymmai MLA Charles Pyngrope and current party working president James S Lyngdoh vying for the top post.
But the answer to the question of who will take up the mantle of the president, lies solely on the districts, blocks and units of the party.
According to the party’s constitution, for the election of the president, reformation of units and blocks should be conducted. The blocks and units will then send their delegates to the MPCC for various categories of party works that will be required, out of which, there will also be delegates from the blocks who will be members of the delegation that will elect the president.
“If my block recommends my name as a candidate for the post of president, why should I shy away? I cannot just file my nomination for the post. Delegates have to suggest my name and it has to be recommended by units. It is a different ball game; it is not as simple as the public perceive,” East Shillong MLA Ampareen Lyngdoh told TNT-The Northeast Today.
She, however, stated that a president should be someone who will never go into electoral politics as this is line with the amendment of the party’s constitution which indicates that anyone in the party should not have a dual position. “It should be ‘one man, one post’. It would be healthy for our party and it would be the best thing to do. But whether or not we reach to that scenario, is to be seen,” she added.
“If I am currently an elected legislator, I will have very little time to attend to party requirements and it would also be a conflict of interest on many grounds because we are already legislators; we are already members of the Assembly and we already have a stand as members of the Congress Legislature Party (CLP).”
“We can’t imagine that I would be a president. It doesn’t work that way. There will be no strong foundation if I just say something like that. All these decisions cannot be taken single-handedly by the All India Congress Committee (AICC) either. Ideally at this stage, when the party is already in the opposition in Meghalaya, it would be in the fitness of things to have a fair election,” said the East Shillong legislator.
To a question on why are there sudden changes in the post of presidents in the party, Lyngdoh said these changes happen out of exigencies that arise.
The tenures of any PCC are determined by the exigencies that arise out of that tenure, she said adding that as of today, there is a president announced by the AICC, assisted by two working presidents –Lok Sabha MP from Shillong, Vincent Pala and James S Lyngdoh.
“There is no fixed term for that office in the strict sense of the word. We follow the pattern that is there in the electoral politics of the state,” she added.
Reacting to the recent statement made by the current MPCC president, Celestine Lyngdoh that he would no longer seek re-election, the East Shillong MLA said, “We are basing this discussion on a hypothetical situation. If the president so deems fit that he will relinquish his post, only then will the procedures of election be fast-tracked otherwise, we wait for the general revamping of units.”
When asked about the rumours of the election being held this month, Lyngdoh said, “To my knowledge, there is no election this month. There is a lot of speculation about what is happening in our party and we are happy that this great concern and wanting to know what is happening in our party is becoming a public interest.”
Meanwhile, Nongthymmai legislator Charles Pyngrope informed that as the term of the president expires this month, the party may probably have an election this month or in January, given the festive season.
When asked about the top contenders for the post, Pyngrope said, “It is not a question of who are the top contenders. As per our constitution, anybody who is a registered member of the party is eligible to file an application for nomination for the post of president. We have a fixed collegium of electors which consists of district presidents, block presidents and presidents of frontal wings. These will elect the president.”
To a question on whether he will file nomination for the post, Pyngrope said, “Will I file nomination? I will not tell you.”
Stating that the party has ample leadership, the veteran politician said rumours on lack of leadership in the Congress party is not true. “Not being in government doesn’t mean we are weak. We have a situation where the present president is not able to give his full time to the party because of certain personal reasons which we should respect. In his place, we have working presidents. But yes, we need a president. The time has come and we should have one,” he added.
When asked about talks of instability within the AICC, Pyngrope disagreed and said that the AICC has a strong leader in Sonia Gandhi. “In my opinion, it is now time we build regional leadership. We may have a situation where we need to change the leader otherwise, we have no dearth of leaders. In fact, we have too many leaders,” he added.